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13 Top players and how they deal with Corona crisis

Posted by on March 18, 2020

13 Top players and how they deal with Corona crisis

© Ton Smilde compilation
Top players in Corona era: how they deal with the forced stop

Slowing down billiards (Dick Jaspers), staying at home in the most affected country in the world, in a war against an invisible enemy (Marco Zanetti). Training with a mask (Duc Chien Nguyen), cooking, reading, watching movies (Torbjörn Blomdahl), training his nerves to calm down, wishing all the best of health to the world (Semih Sayginer). Waiting for the birth of his son (Tayfun Tasdemir), doing a promo tour in Las Vegas in an expo hall with 278 pool tables where carom billiards was introduced. Daily visits to the gym and fitness training to stay in shape and taking time for lots of ordinary things.

Top players in global three cushion, like all the others in the world, have to deal with the horrible situation of Corona Virus. Tournaments and big events cancelled, no competitions, no matches and forced to practice at home. The new cancellations were announced these days. The decisions made by the UMB due to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) concerning the spreading of Coronavirus.

Most recent news from UMB: the 3-Cushion Survival Masters scheduled from 6th to 10th of May is removed from the calendar and Ho Chi Minh World Cup, from May 25 to 31, has been officially cancelled. The UMB, in collaboration with the organizers, will try to find suitable dates to postpone the events.

The last official event in billiards was the European cup for classic teams in France. The German league decided to cancel two playing rounds last weekend, but for lots of players, like Sameh Sidhom, Michael Nilsson and others much too late, because they already arrived in Germany.

The world of sports is part of all the persistent worries in the world. The European football championship was cancelled for 2020 and will surely not be organized this year. Roland Garros announced to postpone the event and no classics will be held in cycling. What will be the next huge decision? The main sports event in the world, the Olympic Games in Tokyo?

How do top players in three-cushion deal with the situation with so many concerns for this year's big events? Kozoom did a short tour to interview top players in their countries.

Kozoom/Frits Bakker: This era with no competitions, no international tournaments coming up, nothing to live up to, how do you spend your days in this billiard less era?

Dick Jaspers (Netherlands): I slowed down billiards, I have a lot of work in my house and to updates things in private life. There are no matches for coming weeks, so I make time for other things in daily life. I practice a little bit, but not so much. The situation is very special, extra-ordinary. I really hope it will be better soon.

Torbjörn Blomdahl (Sweden/Germany): I do some cooking at home with my son Yannick. His high school is also closed, so we are always eating at home. Then, I clean my apartment (I think it has never been so clean as now). And I have lots of time for reading books and watching movies.

Semih Sayginer (Turkey): We are at home and try to stay there. It's good to spend some time with family and friends. And actually, speaking as a professional billiard player, I was very happy with this break, because we really need it. I was talking with Torbjörn, Dani, and the UMB many times about an official break. We are playing all year long, even in the summer, without time for holiday or meeting friends and family. I really want to argue, that we need that stop, like all professional sportsmen have it in the world. I'm getting tired of that. Just now, in these worrying times of crisis, we have time for ourselves. So please, give us an official break.

Marco Zanetti (Italy): We are obliged to stay home. My city looks like never seen before. No cars, no people, a surreal silence, especially during the weekend. Is like being in war against an invisible enemy.

Tayfun Tasdemir (Turkey): I was in practice the last 15 days like always, but my wife is pregnant and yesterday we decided to give birth to our son next Friday. His name is Can. We are now preparing for his birth and looking forward.

Eddy Merckx (Belgium): I have some work to do in our house after they laid a new floor. When it's finished, I hope for better weather to do some cycling around. And practice with friends at home, if there will not be a total lock down.

Myung-Woo Cho (Korea): The Korean government and all of Korea are very careful with this situation. All people are wearing the mask and cleaning hands with alcohol. We are getting better now. I am practicing and playing games with members in the club. Corona is very bad to the people. We are afraid, all of us.

Jérémy Bury (France) I am working for the French ministry of sports. Actually, as the situation is getting worse and worse in the last days, I had to go to the office for the last time today to get some files because we had several projects in process. The work organization will be different from now with remote working. And, as the total confinement started today in France and schools are closed for weeks, I am staying at home and spend my time working, training (I am lucky with a carom table at home) and taking care of my daughter.

Nguyen Quoc Nguyen (Vietnam): I have to work in my company, practice in my new club with the customers and spend my time with my family.

Martin Horn (Germany): I spend most of my time staying at home, or riding my bicycle in my area. Alone, avoiding any social contacts! And of course, I keep on practicing almost every day.

Sameh Sidhom (Egypt): I was in Germany to play in league, which was cancelled on Friday night. So I returned to Egypt on Sunday. And since then I've stayed home, as an extra protection for friends and family, just in case.

Nikos Polychronopoulos (Greece): I go to the gym in order to pass my time and be in good shape.

Duc Anh Chien Nguyen (Vietnam): I spend time with my wife and little son and practice in the billiard club near to my house.

One of the last huge billiard events in these weeks of crisis: in Las Vegas with hundreds of pool tables and three cushion exhibitions 

Kozoom/FB: What does the city or surrounding area look like where you live after the measures taken for the Corona virus.

Torbjörn Blomdahl: My town Backnang is emptier, but actually I only see the supermarkets, which are more crowded of course than normally. Germany has not introduced a complete lockdown (yet), so I heard that Stuttgart looks normal.

Dick Jaspers: People in my town don't behave strange, as I have seen so far. Here, life seems pretty normal, despite all measures.

Eddy Merckx: Where I live in Belgium, all cafes and bars has been closed for three weeks and for now, most shops closed their doors as well. Just like a lock down.

Martin Horn: Very calm here, people just go out in supermarkets. But yesterday I still saw some idiots, sitting together in big groups, drinking coffee. I hope that everybody will understand very soon.

Duc Anh Chien Nguyen: I live in Long Thanh town, around here is normal, because nobody has the virus in this town. We always wear masks when going into public places and often wash our hands.

Semih Sayginer: The city looks like nobody is living here. Before we were affected, it looked like normal, but the last 2, 3 days it all changed. We will find a way to make the best of it to deal with.

Nguyen Quoc Nguyen: My city Ho Chi Minh is boring now. The economics is going down, people do not want to go out of their house because of the virus. Nobody is in the street.

Nikos Polychronopoulos: The situation is bad and will be worse as I feel stricter measures are coming up.

Sameh Sidhom: Schools and universities are closed for two weeks. Starting Thursday, Egypt will halt all international flights and all air travel will be suspended until the end of the month.

Tayfun Tasdemir: In my city, Istanbul, everyone is anxious and we take precautions. We all are following government's instructions.

Jérémy Bury: Our French president decided the confinement of people since yesterday: we have to stay at home and are not allowed to go out, except for special reasons like buying food or go to work for those who can't work from home, or for medical reasons. Shops are closed; most of the streets are empty. Instructions are clear: 'Save lives, stay home!'

Kozoom/FB: Are the cafes, bars, shops and billiard rooms and clubs closed in your city?

Semih Sayginer: Many shops closed, bars, beer rooms, except some restaurants, but they will close soon. The best thing is not to meet people these days. In the Max billiard club, where I normally do my trainings, there were only a few people these days. Very strange. Social areas, shopping halls are empty.

Marco Zanetti: Only supermarkets, pharmacies and tobacco shops are open.

Nikos Polychronopoulos: I have a billiard club, which is closed, because they all are closed now.

Dick Jaspers: Yes, all bars and billiard rooms closed, that is a correct decision, of course.

Sameh Sidhom: Bars and cafes still open, but social clubs, fitness gyms, cinemas, theatres and billiard clubs are closed for two weeks. Tourist sites and resorts are in quarantine period of 14 days to be sanitized.

Nguyen Quoc Nguyen: Many shops are closed and the government does not allow doing sensitive business like bars, massage, and beer clubs.

Torbjörn Blomdahl: The billiard club in Stuttgart is closed; bars, cafes and restaurants are still open.

Myung-Woo Cho: Many shops and restaurants are closed, because there are no people to come in.

Martin Horn: Supermarkets and pharmacies still open, Bars and restaurants must close latest at 15.00, all official billard clubs are closed.

Duc Chien: Bars and karaoke's are closed now, billiard clubs still open. You must check your body temperature and wash hands before entering the billiard clubs.

Kozoom/FB What are the expectations in your country, is the crisis on its way back?

Nikos Polychronopoulos: Unfortunately, we are at the start of the crisis, we need minimum 40 days to see how the situation will be.

Torbjörn Blomdahl: The curve shows that it is still growing here.

Sameh Sidhom: Such a crisis is unpredictable. I believe Egypt is doing a good job in the hopes of containing the virus. Hard to expect what the coming weeks will look like.

Jérémy Bury: The confinement is effective now for at least 2 weeks. The aforementioned establishments are closed until 15th of April. Of course, it's difficult to know what will happen next. I hope French people will respect the instructions so that the epidemic can be contained as soon as possible and hospitals not saturated.

Eddy Merckx: Not at all, situation is getting worse every day in Belgium. More shops closed.

Semih Sayginer: My expectations are not that high, to be honest. The information is correct; we all take care and stay home, so let's hope we can soon get away with it with only a little damage.

Nguyen Quoc Nguyen: The virus destroyed everything in my country and I think the government is working hard to control the situation. They are doing well. I hope the world will find the vaccine soon to kill the virus.

Marco Zanetti: Statistics and numbers are still increasing. We must follow more strictly the guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus.

Martin Horn: My feeling is that Germany will reach the climax in about 3 weeks. Then we have to see if the virus will slowly vanish. I hope for the best for Germany and all other countries. We can win this match if we all play together.

Tayfun Tasdemir: The crisis is rising up, unfortunately, and the number of victims from 47 yesterday to 98 today.

Duc Chien: I hope the world will return normal soon, not only in Vietnam. And I don't think the crisis will come back. There will be vaccine soon.

Kozoom/FB: How do you stay in a good shape? And how intensively do you practice now that there is no competitions?

Dick Jaspers: I have a break now, but I will restart soon, but slow down, because there are no goals for now. I keep my shape by running.

Semih Sayginer: Doing a lot of fitness to rise up my shape, practicing at home to take care for my health. And doing some experimental studying in billiards. I want to play really good in 2020. My start in the World Cup in Antalya was bad, because I couldn't handle these tables. I realized very well that I have to train with my nerves to control them in a positive way, to keep them calm, even when I play on the shittest tables in the world. I'm getting upset when I can't control that.

Eddy Merckx: My health is okay so far, that's the most important. And that's what I wish to all my friends. I can't practice at home, because my new Gabriels table didn't arrive. When I want to do some training or playing games, I have to go to friends.

Nikos Polychronopoulos: I don't touch the cue, because it's all closed and the government is really strict (it's necessary).

Nguyen Quoc Nguyen: I have more time for my family, for practice and more time to do exercises. Good health is very important to stay in good shape and for concentration in the matches.

Sameh Sidhom: I have a table at home, however I haven't practiced these days, but I trained a lot in Germany last week. I took a couple of days off to get back to my normal practice routine as of today.

Torbjörn Blomdahl: Physically, I stay in good shape with running and exercises at home with Yannick, my son. For billiards, I didn't do much the last ten days. We have a key club in Backnang where I can practice, but for now I don't go out except for buying food.

Tayfun Tasdemir: In these worrying days, I try to keep my form and my performance high. Beside this, I will take care for my son Can.

Myung-Woo Cho: I hope it will finish soon, for now I can only keep on training. Really boring to have no competition and be not allowed to go outside.

Martin Horn: I can practice every day in my own room at home, so I can stay in shape. It's not easy to get motivation, as there are no games in the next weeks. But loving the game helps to work with different shots and improving my game.

Duc Chien: Yes, always try to practice, when possible with other players.

Jérémy Bury: I couldn't train a lot, because of my wrist sprain; I did some home cycling and workouts. Just hope I will be able to train more and more now. I will also use this period without tournaments to treat my wrist sprain, because it's not recovered yet. I should have been in Las Vegas last weekend with Dani Sánchez with my sponsor Predator. There was a fantastic pool event. Dani and I were invited to display and promote 3-cushion in United States, as a preamble to the World Cup that will be organized there in 2021. Dani could go because he left Europe 2 days earlier, unfortunately, I couldn't go there because of the Covid-19 crisis. There were to many risks to go and it would have been irresponsible whereas the French authorities clearly asked French people not to go after Trump's first announcement.

Thanks for cooperating, have a good time, take care,
Kozoom team





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